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WARNING: Stories on this site may contain mature language and situations, and may be inappropriate for readers under the age of 18.

MEMORIEZ by Clay Dugger
May 28, 2010  Short stories   Tags:   

Pain. Fear.


A flash. A Memory.

Janie is seven. Santa just gave her her very first kitty. Mommy and Daddy said that she would have to learn how to feed it and clean its litterbox. She knows that those are stinky and yucky because her friend Annie has three cats, but they aren’t kittens. They are all grown up cats. Janie thinks she can get Daddy to clean the box, because he always does the yucky things instead of making Mommy or her do them.

The kitty is golden orange with really long fur. It’s little mouth opens with a silent meow.

Janie decides to call it “Poofy” because it looks just like a little poof-ball.

As she holds it and pets it, its fur turns ragged and tangled. It’s little nose turns gray. Poofy bites her hard on her hand.

No. It wasn’t like that! Poofy never…

Heat. Pain.


Jane is sitting at the little dining room table, a decorated white cake in front of her. There are two lit candles on the cake, shaped like numbers. A ‘one’ and a ‘seven’.

“Make a wish!” Momma says.

Jane closes her eyes and inhales deeply, dramatically overdoing it. Her cheeks puff out as she blows hard on the two candles.

A camera flashes.

“Ah, crap.” Dad says. “These damned digital cameras! Why can’t they take the picture when you push the button? I missed it!”

“Well, I’m not doing it again.” Jane says. They all laugh.

Momma is visibly excited. She never could keep a secret.

“Give it to her, Steven.”

Giving Momma a ‘don’t get your panties in a bunch’ look, Dad places a small box in front of Jane.

“Here you go, my little, well…not so little, girl. Happy Birthday.”

Jane tears open the package. She’s just like her Momma like that. Don’t wait around, don’t be neat. Tear off that paper and see what it is.

It’s a key, on a keyring attached to a small black remote.

“Go ahead,” Momma says. “Push the button.”

Jane almost knocks her chair over, she stands up so fast. Poofy, her cat, has been laying on her feet, as is his long time habit. Startled, he scampers out of the kitchen.

Quickly she pushes the largest button on the small remote.

In the garage, a ‘beepbeep’ sounds.

Unable to suppress a squeal, Jane bounds to the door that leads to the garage. Her Momma almost runs into her as she stops to unlock the door before opening it. Her Momma is probably the more excited that Jane is herself.

Jane opens the door to behold her new expression of independence, of adulthood. And, from the looks of it, her newfound level of ‘coolness’.

The little two door car is light blue, but not in a little girl way. More of a ‘look-at-me-I’m-flying’ way.

She opens the driver’s door, but turns when she hears a moan behind her. Her parents have changed. They are standing, but limply. Their skin is all gray and their hair is filthy.

They reach for her. Her Momma grabs her hand and bites hard.

Jane screams.

The car. That wasn’t what happened. Momma didn’t…

Heat. Pain. Tired, so tired.


Jane is standing, facing the man she loves. He is repeating after another man.

Henry is tall. And dark. And handsome. She calls him her ‘own little cliché’.

As Henry speaks, she looks out at the crowd of people watching. In the front row are her parents, both crying through smiles.

There seems to be an awful lot of people standing in the foyer of the church. They are looking in through the small windows in the doors. They sway side to side, and appear to be pawing at the door, trying to get in.

Their skin is gray.

A sharp pain in her hand snaps her attention to Henry.

Instead of placing a ring on her finger, he is biting her hand.

His skin is gray, too.

What…that isn’t true! Henry never hurt me!

Pain. Heat. Deep exhaustion.


“Push, Janie, push!” Henry encourages.

“Just a little more, Jane, one more and we’re there.” The doctor says.

Pain, oh, pain. But so worth it. This baby wasn’t supposed to be, couldn’t happen.

Yet, here we are, she thinks.

The doctor interrupts her thoughts. “And, here we go! Congratulations! It’s a girl! Ten fingers and ten toes, a beautiful girl!”

Henry is crying, just like Jane. “Oh, sweetheart! She’s so beautiful! I’m so proud of you!”

Crying, Jane holds out her hands and receives a tiny, blanket wrapped package. The baby isn’t crying, but moaning slightly, even growling.

Pulling the folds away from the baby’s face, she sees a blank stare, peering black eyes, and slate gray skin.

She looks up at Henry. He is beaming, making little cooing noises.

Suddenly, pain sears in her hand. The baby has gray-black teeth and it busily chewing.

No! Zoe was perfect! That isn’t right!

Pain. Searing heat. Head heavy. So tired. Need sleep.


Jane never got to enjoy her new home. The Zombies had overrun the city, if not the entire state.

She and Henry hadn’t even been able to unpack the boxes.

Henry was lying on the couch, asleep and feverish. Zoe was missing.

The Army was driving up and down the street declaring quarantine. They were blaring instructions from megaphones as they drove.

“If anyone in your house is sick, leave them there. If you are not sick, come out and you will be taken to a Federal Safe Refuge. Only healthy individuals will be taken. All others should stay indoors and wait for a doctor to determine their condition.”

The message repeats.

Jane did not know what to do. Henry was sick, but she couldn’t leave him. What if he woke up and she was gone? And what about Zoe? She had to find Zoe!

She stands, unable to think or move.

A pounding at the door. “Is anyone in there? We are going to break the door down. Stand back!”

And the door virtually exploded inward, the knob punching into the sheetrock as it slammed into the wall.

Soldiers poured in.

“Are you sick, ma’am? Have you been bitten by anything or anybody? Is this your husband? Has he been bitten?” Hands examined her, checked her.

Another yelled, “We got a bite here!”

He pulled Henry’s pants leg up, revealing a very tiny bite mark.

“She appears fine, no fever. Get her outta here! Robinson, take care of the man when we leave!”

She is pushed out of the house.

A shot.

A single person comes out of the house. Alone.

There is a shout from the side of the house.

“Oh, shit! Oh, my God, it’s a baby!”


Another shot.

She screams and breaks free. Running to the side of the house she yells. “You bastards! She’s my baby! What have you done to my baby!?”

She rounds the corner of the house and sees Zoe, dressed in her little pink sleeper. Her beautiful two year old little girl is just laying on the ground.

Her head is gone.

She is tackled from behind. She struggles, but cannot break free.

She hears growls and moans.

Managing to turn over, she looks into the eyes of a Zombie dressed in Army fatigues.

She punches the abomination in the face, but it latches onto her hand with it’s teeth, gray lips sucking greedily.

Screaming, she sees her arm start to turn gray.

Oh, God, Zoe! Not Zoe! They shot Zoe.

Pain fades. Head too heavy. Sleep. Just go to sleep.


Jane awakens to the alarm. This one is the one that indicates the perimeter has been breached. This means only one thing.

The Zombies are here.

As she works a split breakfast/dinner shift in the Refuge’s cafeteria, she is alone in the Single Women’s Dormitory. At this time of day, most are at the cafeteria, either working or eating.

“Ironic”, she says to nobody. “The Zombies come to eat us when we ourselves are eating.”

She stays inside the building, figuring she is safer on the second floor than out on the grounds running around. She watches from a window.

People run. People scream. People fight.

Zombies eat.

Paying such rapt attention to the goings on outside, she failed to hear the door open at the far end of the dormitory.

She only became aware of her company when she heard a moan.

The Zombie was missing his entire right arm. Some of that thick black blood of theirs had run onto his light blue shirt in the seconds it took to coagulate, sealing the wound.

He was already on her. He grabbed her blouse with his hand, pulling her to him.

She struggles and tears out of the blouse. Squirming away, she is yanked back. The Zombie has grabbed her wrist.

He bites a large chunk out of her hand.

Jane screams. She breaks loose and runs.

She locks herself in a supply closet.

There are thumps on the door, but she does not hear. Slumping to the floor, she cries.

She cries for her parents, her husband, her Zoe. Even her long dead cat.

She cries for a life that was.

No more pain.

Only hunger.


  1. Great story, I was trying to figure out what was going on with all the flash backs.. Could have had some more meat to the story but it was a good read. Keep writing good sir

    Comment by Hazzard1Actual on May 28, 2010 @ 10:28 am

  2. Good one. Theres an emotional resonance there that is lacking from many of the stories on this site.

    Comment by Scooter on May 28, 2010 @ 10:41 am

  3. Sad and nostalgic, truly a beautiful story. I knew what was happening early on, but was still drawn in the more she remembered how good life really was, inspite of the end. The fever kept warping her memories, yet the good memories where still there. An odd story of faith and hope, but I think faith and hope was still there. Very moving.

    Comment by RandyB on May 28, 2010 @ 11:52 am

  4. very good i could imagine this as a movie

    Comment by uncleb on May 28, 2010 @ 6:56 pm

  5. Thank you for the kind words, guys! This one took some extra work to be good enough for the site. Our beloved Zombie Master sure knows how to improve stories! And, my first one, Sides, is being published in audio format later this year!

    Comment by cdugger on May 28, 2010 @ 7:46 pm

  6. Nice story. Really telling of our caliber of contributers and the editing staff at towwz.
    Like RandyB I knew what was going on but it was great taking that final life journey with her. I found myself wondering what I would flash through if I were in her position. Nice work!

    Comment by Barrett S. on May 28, 2010 @ 10:24 pm

  7. Creepy, very very creepy. In a good way though. I like the “life flashing before your eyes” angle on it. Keep it up.

    Comment by Terry Schultz on May 28, 2010 @ 10:39 pm

  8. Good Work Clay! I particularly like the ending.

    Comment by Pete Bevan on May 30, 2010 @ 1:29 am

  9. Loved it. Just brilliant.

    Comment by ScottB on June 1, 2010 @ 3:35 pm

  10. Great Story! Grabs you from the beginning and keeps you glued to the very end.

    Comment by L Martin on June 9, 2010 @ 9:41 pm

  11. Loved it. Cliche idea but delivered so well and emotionally.

    Comment by Zombie_Hunter_6 on July 31, 2010 @ 3:10 pm

  12. I just reread it and it still tugs at the heart strings. Minimalistic, but powerful.

    Comment by Barrett on July 31, 2010 @ 4:33 pm

  13. Terrible, Horrible, Painful and Great!

    I really like the way the flashbacks were written, when I realized that they were flashbacks, I was looking forward to the end of each.

    grey, heat, pain…

    Comment by Victor on August 12, 2010 @ 9:16 am

  14. Erm, I dnt get it. Can someone explain it plz?

    Comment by Kelly on August 21, 2010 @ 4:17 pm

  15. Nice! I like how the flashbacks are presented as well. Can imagine Jane having a bad dream in accordance to the flashbacks

    Comment by Jiggy on August 26, 2011 @ 5:01 pm

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